Environment & Weather
Statement from Governor Pat Quinn On State’s Efforts to Secure Federal Assistance for Harrisburg Tornado PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Monday, 19 March 2012 12:31

SPRINGFIELD - March 12, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today issued the following statement regarding the state’s efforts to secure federal assistance for people affected by the Feb. 29 tornado.


“Today I spoke with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and informed her that we intend to appeal FEMA’s denial of our request for much-needed individual assistance for the people of Southern Illinois. I urged Secretary Napolitano to reconsider FEMA's decision.  We are doing everything possible at the state level to help these devastated communities, but some of the assistance that our residents need to begin rebuilding their lives is only available through a federal disaster declaration.


“I met with local officials, spent time with residents and saw firsthand the devastation and damage caused by the tornado in Southern Illinois. FEMA underestimated the impact this deadly tornado had on small towns like Harrisburg and Ridgway. We have already begun work on our appeal of this decision in order to secure federal assistance.


“I am grateful to Senator Dick Durbin, Senator Mark Kirk and the Illinois Congressional Delegation for their vigorous support of our efforts to bring assistance to the people whose lives were ripped apart by the Feb. 29 tornado. We are hopeful our joint efforts will help FEMA understand that a full recovery from this disaster cannot happen without their support.”



Governor Quinn Requests Federal Assistance for Five Southern Illinois Counties PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Andrew Mason   
Monday, 19 March 2012 11:00

Federal Disaster Declaration Would Help People, Businesses

Recover from Tornadoes, Severe Storms


SPRINGFIELD – March 7, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today asked President Barack Obama to declare five Southern Illinois counties major disaster areas to help people and businesses recover from devastating tornadoes and severe storms that struck the area Feb. 29. Counties requested include Gallatin, Randolph, Saline, Union and Williamson.


“We need federal aid in order to help these communities recover, which is why we worked to document the damage and submit this request for federal assistance,” Governor Quinn said. “I ask President Obama to approve this request that will help the people of Southern Illinois recover from this devastating storm.”


Earlier this week, damage assessment teams from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and affected communities documented the extent of damage to homes and businesses. That assessment found that 104 homes were destroyed by severe storms and tornadoes; 50 suffered major damage, and 276 others also were seriously damaged.


In addition, 10 businesses in Saline County sustained major damage, while 23 others were also affected by the storms.


If Governor Quinn’s request is approved, residents in the approved counties would be eligible to apply for grants and low-interest SBA loans. Affected businesses would be also able to apply for low-interest SBA loans.


Representatives from IEMA and FEMA will meet with local government officials beginning March 12 to document expenses related to the tornadoes and storms, including emergency protective measures, debris removal, and repair or replacement of roads, bridges and other public facilities. That information could be used to support a request for federal assistance to help state and local governments recoup 75 percent of eligible flood-related expenses.



EPA Provides $15 Million to Help Small Drinking Water and Wastewater Systems Across the Country PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Cathy Milbourn   
Wednesday, 14 March 2012 13:11

Funding will help small systems better serve local communities

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it will provide up to $15 million in funding for training and technical assistance to small drinking and wastewater systems, defined as systems that serve fewer than 10,000 people, and private well owners. The funding will help provide water system staff with training and tools to enhance system operations and management practices, and supports EPA’s continuing efforts to protect public health, restore watersheds and promote sustainability in small communities.


Most of the funding, up to $14.5 million, will provide training and technical assistance to small public water systems to achieve and maintain compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act and to small publicly-owned wastewater systems, communities served by on-site systems, and private well owners to improve water quality.


More than 97 percent of the nation’s 157,000 public water systems serve fewer than 10,000 people, and more than 80 percent of these systems serve fewer than 500 people. Many small systems face unique challenges in providing reliable drinking water and wastewater services that meet federal and state regulations. These challenges can include a lack of financial resources, aging infrastructure, management limitations and high staff turnover.


EPA expects to make available up to $500,000 to provide training and technical assistance to tribally-owned and operated public water systems.


Applications must be received by EPA by April 9, 2012. EPA expects to award these cooperative agreements by Summer 2012. For more information about these competitive announcements, visit:



For more information on EPA’s programs and tools to help small water systems, visit:


Governor Quinn Requests FEMA Help with Tornado Damage Assessments in Southern IL PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Nafia Khan   
Wednesday, 14 March 2012 12:48

Documentation Will Support Request for Federal Assistance


SPRINGFIELD – March 1, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assist with damage assessments in several Southern Illinois counties devastated by tornadoes and severe storms early Wednesday morning. The assessments, which will begin on Monday, will provide the documentation necessary to support a request for federal assistance.


“I’ve seen the destruction firsthand and it is critical that we get needed resources to our impacted communities right away,” Governor Quinn said. “We must do everything possible to expedite this process and jumpstart our recovery in Southern Illinois.”


Personnel from FEMA, IEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and local emergency management agencies will begin assessing damage to homes and businesses on Monday. The assessments, which are expected to be completed by the end of the week, will be conducted in Gallatin, Massac, Perry, Pulaski, Randolph, Saline, Union and Williamson counties.


“We’ll work closely with FEMA to complete the damage assessments as quickly as possible,” said Jonathon Monken, director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA).  Monken said IEMA will have staff in the area over the weekend to meet with local officials in preparation for the damage assessments.


Immediately after surveying the damage and meeting with residents, local officials and first-responders in Harrisburg on Wednesday, Governor Quinn issued a state disaster proclamation for the southern third of Illinois. The declaration ensures that state resources and personnel are available to assist with response and recovery efforts.  A state disaster declaration is also needed in order to request federal assistance.


The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Springfield remains activated to coordinate state assistance to the affected areas. Representatives from several state agencies, including the Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois State Police, Department of Natural Resources, Department of Central Management Services, Illinois Commerce Commission, Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois Department of Corrections and Illinois Emergency Management Agency, are stationed at the SEOC to manage requests for assets, personnel and resources from their departments.


Friday’s weather forecast for Southern Illinois calls for the potential for more severe storms, and the state is encouraging people to take steps now to prepare. In addition to an emergency preparedness kit stocked with bottled water, non-perishable food, flashlight, batteries and a first aid kit, Monken said a NOAA weather alert radio is a critical preparedness tool. The radios receive watches and warnings 24 hours a day and can alert people to approaching danger in time for them to get to a safe place.


More information about weather alert radios and severe weather preparedness is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.


Governor Quinn Issues State Disaster Declaration in Harrisburg Following Tornado PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Andrew Mason   
Wednesday, 07 March 2012 09:02

Governor Declares Disaster After Touring Damage and

Meeting with First Responders


HARRISBURG – February 29, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today issued a state disaster proclamation following a tour of damaged areas in Harrisburg after a tornado devastated parts of southern Illinois Wednesday morning. State resources including the Illinois State Police, Illinois Department of Transportation and Illinois Department of Natural Resources were also deployed on the ground to respond to the damage.


“My heart goes out to the victims of this devastating storm, and I would like to thank the many people who have stepped up and volunteered to aid their neighbors,” Governor Quinn said. “I have met with local community leaders and first responders, and they know the state of Illinois is here to help as they recover from this disaster.”


The disaster declaration issued by Governor Quinn today covers the southern-third of Illinois and will ensure that state resources and personnel are available to assist with response and recovery efforts.


“My thoughts and prayers go out to our neighbors in and around Harrisburg today as we learn of the devastation that hit the region early this morning,” Lt. Governor Sheila Simon said. “I will continue to work diligently to coordinate state and local disaster relief efforts and bring aid and support to this community.”


Simon said the Red Cross Little Egypt Network is coordinating volunteer efforts and accepting monetary donations to aid in disaster relief efforts. The Little Egypt chapter can be contacted at (618) 529-1698, and donations can be sent to the chapter office at 665 North Airport Road, Murphysboro, IL 62966.


Shortly after the storm this morning, Governor Quinn directed the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) to activate the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Springfield. IEMA personnel and several other state agencies are coordinating at the SEOC and continue to assess the impact of the storms.


“The focus of the state right now is to coordinate with local emergency response officials in the affected areas to determine what state resources are needed for response and recovery from the storms,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken.


IEMA regional personnel were deployed to Harrisburg soon after the storms and representatives from the Illinois State Police, departments of Transportation, Central Management Services, Corrections, Public Health and Natural Resources, along with the American Red Cross, reported to the SEOC soon thereafter. The SEOC will remain activated as long as necessary.


State resources on the ground in the affected storm areas include:


  • Illinois Department of Transportation(IDOT) – helicopter to assist with damage assessment

o   35 IDOT employees and equipment in Harrisburg assisting with access control

o   60-90 additional IDOT employees on stand-by

  • Illinois State Police – 20 troopers assisting with security and access control
  • Department of Natural Resources – five Conservation Police Officers assisting with search and rescue/security


March 1 marks the beginning of Severe Weather Preparedness Month in Illinois.  IEMA has a Severe Weather Preparedness Guide on the Ready Illinois website (www.Ready.Illinois.gov) that provides information on how to stay safe when severe storms and tornadoes approach.



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